Success Story

Georgia State University’s PMO becomes a trusted partner with 96% customer satisfaction

Georgia State University was looking for a way to support projects and programs that drive student success.

University PMO becomes trusted partner, improving project success by 69% and demand for services by 400%

The Challenge

In the 14 years since the Georgia State IT PMO was created to support projects and programs that drive student success and enable better communication and collaboration, they had used at least six project management information systems. At least as far as Janice Maxwell was aware, from her seven-year experience first as PMO Manager and now Head of Operations. But, with no centralization of records and data, none of these solutions had been able to provide them with the visibility they needed, either to understand why their projects suffered from late delivery and budget overruns or, more to the point, to enable them to intervene with resources and decisions at the appropriate time. They could not get a global view of projects and operations, and they could not report on project status to their leadership. Additionally, with anything from 40 to 180 projects a year, they needed to ensure they were committing resources to the right projects: those that fulfill the university’s strategic goals.

Janice set about looking for a system that would enable them to improve both horizontal and vertical communication of project status and information; better collaborate using in-built communication features; increase their agility in project management; and provide comprehensive reports based on the needs of the organization. They wanted to be able to quickly view what changes had been made to the schedule or assignments of projects across the organization, see where action was needed, and report in an easy-to-understand way on performance, risks and issues to senior management. And they wanted it in a cost-effective and user-friendly package.

“Eclipse PPM has been fundamental in helping us establish a streamlined project delivery model; we are now able to drive PMO leadership across the campus.”

— Janice Maxwell, Head of Operations, GSU Instructional Innovation and Technology Division

Eclipse PPM – out-of-the-box functionality

Janice chose Upland’s Eclipse Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solution for its comprehensive features straight out of the box. “A lot of the other vendors that I talked to, their solutions required bringing in a custom developer,” she explains. “Upland said they could have us up and running in three days!” The solution has been in place since 2014.

Georgia State’s IT PMO uses Eclipse PPM’s project tracking, and project reporting capabilities. This gives them a consolidated view to understand what is going on overall and take the action they need to. It also helps them meet their accountability goals. “We’re audited very frequently in the university system, so it’s very helpful to have absolutely everything in one place.” And they also need to report to students on how the technical fees they pay are being used.

Additionally, Janice and her team make good use of the project evaluation and prioritization modules, attributing resources to projects according to how well they advance the university’s strategic goals – such as helping more students to graduate – but also to how well they fit IT’s internal goals. A good example is the predictive analytics project. This enables the university to assess a student’s likelihood of graduating, and intervene at a crucial stage; and it is also part of IT’s digital transformation initiative.

Benefits – visibility leads to success

With the visibility the IT PMO has obtained through Eclipse PPM, they have been able to make changes to project management and delivery that have had a significant impact not only on their clients, but on the very structure of the PMO itself. They’ve gone from a 1.5 to a 4 on the Gartner maturity model in the time Janice has been there. “We now have a very robust, streamlined project delivery model, which is very flexible to meet any needs. Everybody is cross-trained. Everybody is PMP certified.”

And this has led to a 69% project success rate since they started using Eclipse PPM. “Before I came to Georgia State, there had not been one project that I could find the data on that had delivered on time and within budget,” Janice shared. The PPM helps them centralize all project information to ensure scopes are adhered to and progress is made. Success breeds success. With a 96.6% overall customer satisfaction rate, demand for the PMO’s trained project managers has gone up 400%, and Janice has been able to grow her team from two to ten.

But the impact is also long term. The growth in influence of the PMO has led to a monthly roadmap meeting being established, encouraging university leadership to think about their lines of business as products. In some cases, they’ve been able to map out the vision for the next three to five years, enabling IT to plan ahead for expansion. likelihood of graduating, and intervene at a crucial stage; and it is also part of IT’s digital transformation initiative.

Follow the link below to read the full story, or watch our webinar replay Back to Class with Georgia State University and hear Janice share her experience on how GSU grew the PMO with Eclipse PPM software.

Download the case study

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